MILWAUKEE Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer says Giannis Antetokounmpo had the “extra gear” required to get the reigning champions over the line in Monday’s 119-109 win over Indiana Pacers.
Antetokounmpo came close to his first triple-double of the new season, finishing with 30 points 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Budenholzer said the two-time NBA MVP was in “attack mode” as the Bucks improved to a 3-1 record.
“I think it was a really aggressive Giannis tonight but at the same time he’s still making great passes, great reads, great decisions,” Budenholzer told reporters after the game.
“When he’s attacking and scoring and finding three-point shooters, that’s when we’re at our best. He had that extra gear tonight and we needed it.”
He added: “Tonight he was special getting into the paint and creating some foul situations for them.”
The Bucks were without guard Jrue Holiday (ankle) and centre Brook Lopez (back) along with Bobby Portis, employing a shorter starting line-up.
Antetokounmpo admitted he was still getting used to handling Lopez’s absence on court.
“At the end of the day, sometimes I feel like not having Brook out there is hard for me,” he told reporters. “Should I go screen, should I get out of the way, should I go for the dunk? It makes me second guess sometimes.”
Antetokounmpo was also full of praise for 23-year-old Bucks forward Jordan Nwora (9 points 4 rebounds 3 assists) who he said was “playing great” this season.